CC: Would you consider yourself a writer, or artist?
CC: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
VF: Valerie Finnigan was born in Glendale, California, where she quickly developed a ravenous appetite for adventure, a taste for science fiction, horror, fantasy, and suspense, and a mind buzzing with big dreams. Some of those dreams led to her making her home in the wilds of Idaho. Some led her through a variety of careers, including firefighting and emergency services. But many dreams came true for her as a writer. She wrote Hero by Force and was a contributing writer for Worst Case Scenario: Outbreak, and Why Not? Presents. But she distinguished herself as one of only maybe five women in the world to create writing military comics. She worked on Untold Stories from Iraq & Afghanistan, Korean War, Tiger on the Storm, and The Real Women of the US Military. She was privileged to collaborate with up and coming artists like Richard O’Hara and Monami Kun as well as industry legends like Peter Palmiotti (Aquaman, Uncanny X-Men), Brian Shearer (GI Joe, Dr. Who), Tom Orzechowski (Spawn, Uncanny X-Men), and many more.
CC: Do you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
VF: A few classes. Mostly self taught.
CC: Describe your style.
VF: My style is evolving. While I give my artists quite a bit of leeway, I'm also very detail oriented. Over the years I've had to adapt my scripts to include reference photographs and categorize details as essential, emphasizing mood, and just background flavor. This will let the artist know what absolutely has to be in a panel and what I'll leave to the artist's best judgment.
CC: What would you say most motivates you to do what you do?
VF: Our veterans and first responders and how much the civilian public doesn't know and needs to in order to bridge this divide between them.
CC: Are you inspired by any particular works or creators?
VF: Stan Lee and John Romita's Spider-man comic strip. Chris Claremont's Uncanny X-Men and Excalibur. Dave Cockrum's work on Uncanny X-Men. Joe Kubert's Sgt. Rock and Dong Xoai, Vietnam. Larry Hama's GI Joe. Mort Walker on Beetle Bailey. And especially Stacy Hayashi's Journey of Heroes.
CC: Do you work with others?
VF: I work best with others. Up and comers Richard O'Hara and Monami Kun. Heavy hitters like Peter Palmiotti, Brian Shearer, and Tom Orzechowski.
I also have an agent, Ginger Simon at the Magpie Agency, to help me hit the ground running once I can do conventions again. And the Board of Directors of The Stories of Service Foundation to help keep the work going even with things as they are now.
CC: What creation are you most proud of?
VF: I can't decide.
CC: Can you tell me about your current project?
VF: All I can say now is that it will hopefully involve a large part of the comic book industry. [Watch to video for her official reveal of this amazing new project!]
CC: What passions do you have outside of comics?
VF: Reading. I especially enjoy science fiction, space opera, fantasy, alternate history, and an occasional foray into horror. I also very much enjoy the great outdoors, even if these days it's just a drive up into the hills for some solitude, scenery, and stargazing.
I also enjoy all kinds of music and am a bit of a multi-instrumentalist.
CC: Do you have any thoughts about the comic book industry?
VF: Yes. I have lots of thoughts. Too many to list.
CC: Do you have any advice for anyone that is just joining the industry for the first time, or looking to join the industry?
Not to sound cliche, but just do it. Job security in the comic book industry is rarely a given anyway, so disregard the dire predictions and the bad hand 2020 has dealt and do what you want anyway. Or at least have fun trying.